There are few things better than summers in Seattle. It’s the perfect season to celebrate important life events like graduation (congrats to the Class of 2019!), baby showers and, yes, even a birthday party for your neighbor’s Corgi. Parties like this also call for all kinds of fun decorations, too!
But these gatherings and commemorations can come at a cost. Each year, stray mylar balloons fly into City Light’s power lines, leading to their fiery demise. For our crews, this can become a problem.
“Mylar balloons and their strings create a unique hazard to our electrical system,” Erik Nyhus, City Light Transmission and Distribution Field Operation Supervisor explained. “These balloons introduce a path for electricity to flow in our system that is not supposed to be there. When the balloons touch an energized piece of equipment, it’s possible for the electricity to travel in a way that can cause power outages ranging from a few customers to a few thousand. Keeping balloons out of our lines is important to our system reliability.”
This summer, City Light asks that you celebrate with your mylar balloons responsibly with a few easy tips:
- Make sure your Mylar balloons are tied down with a heavy object.
- Avoid releasing balloons into the air. Balloons can travel long distances and even end up in the Puget Sound, potentially harming marine life like whales and fish.
- When you’ve finished partying, cut the used balloon open to release any helium that remains. Then, discard the balloon in the trash.
These tips will help keep your party (and your neighbors’ parties, too) from ending up in the dark! This summer, post a photo or video of your mylar balloon properly secured using the hashtag #thisishowwemylar. Speaking of videos, check out our videos below with tips on how to be mylar smart. Party on!